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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2002 1800 and nearly everytime I come to a stop I can smell coolant. I have checked all my hoses, no leaks found. I keep checking my coolant level both at the radiator and overflow bottle and that's also fine. I have no leaks on the groung while running the bike at operating temp. I'm wondering if it may just be the vapors from the overflow tank when the engine is hot. Is this possible or am I missing something else? This is very annoying. Thanks for any help!
 

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I had the same problem with my 98 GL1500. When the bike was new after about a week I developed a leak around an o-ring which was fixed by the dealer. After that I could smell coolant but never found a leak so I assumed it was vapor from the overflow tank as it filled and drained back. Never had to add coolant either. So I guess it could be a leak around a seal. It does not take much, a few drops of coolant on a hot surface to create a smell. Good luck..
 

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This is going to sound like a tall tale, but hear me out. I was a automobile mechanic for 22 years before going into fleet management and I noticed something during my last stint as a wrench. When road testing vehicles after repairs I always took the same route. At just about the point when a vehicle would reach operating temperature I would have to wait at a left turn red light. While sitting at the light with a vehicle that I had just repaired I smelled hot coolant. When I returned to the shop I inspected the vehicle, even pressure tested the cooling system, I found no leak. Then the same thing happened again, and again, and again… always at the same intersection. Frustrated I returned to the intersection on foot and found that he odor was caused by some plant in the field beyond the fence line. Since then, I have noticed the same odor while walking on a trail along the foothills, I call it the “Hot Coolant Plant”, I know there’s no such thing but the odor is unmistakable and smells exactly like hot coolant.

So my questions would be if I were in the same predicament:
Is my bike consuming coolant? If no then there’s no leak.
Is this something relatively new, like since the beginning of spring weather?
Do you notice the odor in the same geographical area? Do you even smell it in the garage after returning home?

I hate stop leak products so I wouldn’t recommend using any. Investing in a cooling system pressure tester is a bit much for the do-it-yourselfer but would be the best way to locate a slow leak. Other than that you can look for a white crust buildup, that is usually is an indicator of a slow leak.

-Disclaimer- Do not try this at home. This is really going to sound bizarre but automotive fluids have different flavors, coolant is sweet, brake fluid is bitter, oil is oily… I am in no way suggesting that anyone consume chemicals, but I must admit that I have been known to take a taste from time to time, when I’m having trouble identifying a fluid. :eek::eek::eek:

I’m a bit old school.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No leak found!

I am convinced that it has to be the vapor escaping from the overflow tube after the engine gets hot and the radiator releases pressure. I don't smell it all the time and never smell it once the bike is turned off. There is no coolant loss, I have been checking it every day for 3 weeks. Then engine never runs hot, always right below the center line on the temp gage on the open road and in stop and go traffic. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything or if anybody else may have had this problem before. Thanks for all the help!
 

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I am in no way suggesting that anyone consume chemicals, but I must admit that I have been known to take a taste from time to time, when I’m having trouble identifying a fluid. :eek::eek::eek:

I’m a bit old school.
Graves...Now that made me LOL... Try to stay off the "sauce" or you will end up in your namesake... Thanks for the laugh. Ride safe.
 

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Did notice that smell when my bike was new, but haven't noticed it lately. Like mentioned before, no change in volume level in the overflow tank. Now that warmer weather is here, I'll be a bit more observant. It doesn't take much of a drop on hot metal to kick up an odor, especially if you park in a garage.
 

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When I first got the Green Wing I had the same problem. It was an O ring on the water tube where it goes into the thermostat housing. I had it repaired and while they were there had all hoses and tubes replaced. Here are some hints that may help you get it done the first time. Those tubes are way down on top of the engine and a few drops of coolant will drip down, evaporate and you can smell it.
1. Dont order Honda O rings. They nare too big around and too thin. When you push the tube in the housing it will ride up and get pinched. Get O rings that you need to streach to get them in the grove. They need to be thick enough to fill the groove. Lube them with coolant before installing. Pressure test the system before you put the carbs back on. Hope this helps a bit
 

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coolant

I had a coolant smell a while back. i ride an 04 1832. Somewhere under the center of the bike three hoses meet in a plastic union (T). The mechanic at the time told me this is prone to ooze green slime and thus stink. It doesnt take much to smell. This was replaced under warranty so I couldn't tell u how to expose the T. I do think it is worth checking.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Found the leak!

Back in March I did a coolant change and did not replce the drain plug seal as I should have. I noticed some moisture around the plug and sure enough after warming the bike up I noticed a drop begining to form. While riding that drop every few minutes blowing back against the hot engine was producing the odor. I replaced the seal, took her for a ride and no more coolant smell!!! It was so small I never noticed any loss in coolant. I learned my lesson and when the service manual say's to change that little seal they really mean it. Thanks for all the help! You may want to keep this one in mind when changing your coolant next time.
 

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I have a 2007 Wing ., after changing the coolant , I too keep smelling the coolant but the bike never gets any warmer then always . I have put 200 miles on it after the change . Is the smell normal ?
 

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Welcome along Cutter. It'sd been known to happen either with that seal plug mentioned in this thread or sometimes the clamps on the overflow bottle, overfilling the system and a bit coming out the relief tube. Several places to watch. Monitor your coolant level and go from there.
 

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Had a similar problem with my 08. Started taking off side covers and broke out a good flashlight eventually found a stain down the back of the engine. Apparently the antifreeze was dripping on somethkng hot enough to evaporate it before it hit the ground. The dealer found a leak burried deep enough that it could not be seen without taking a bunch of stuff off. They replaced a hose and the cheezie hose clamps. No problem since.
 

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I just changed mine yesterday and when filling the radiater I spilled some. My fault because it has to be put in slow to allow air to excape. I'm sure I will smell anti freeze now but it should burn off. Can't ride now because of salt on the roads.
 

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Glad you found the leak, Here's another thing...

:finland-flag-38: I had the same smell shortly after the engine reached operating temp, but never a loss of coolant level. Hosed off the engine, etc., but still got that occasional whiff.
Turns out I removed the belly pan and exposed years of oil film and grime absorbed by road dust out of reach by normal washes. There was coolant likely dribbled during annual maintenance mixed into the mash. I degreased and hosed off the belly pan and engine case bottom, and never smelled it since!
 
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